Publish Date:
October 20, 2023

Hotel Review Responses (A Detailed Guide on Responding for Beginners) 

Our guide to hotel review responses covers basics you need to know, like how to reply to bad reviews and tips for responding to positive comments from guests. 

Hotel Review Responses (A Detailed Guide on Responding for Beginners) 

At the beginning of 2023, the American Hotel and Lodging Association announced a “new era for hotels” and projected occupancy rates close to 64% – “just shy of 2019's 65.9%” levels. The increase in tourism and travel has also translated to an increase in hotel reviews worldwide. 

More business equals more customer feedback, both on generic review platforms like Google and industry-specific platforms like TripAdvisor. And while getting more guest reviews can help hotels succeed, it can also make review management more challenging – especially if you've received numerous negative reviews.

To make it easier, we’ve prepared this detailed guide on dealing with good and bad hotel reviews. In it, we’ll cover some tips and best practices when replying to positive or negative guest reviews. We’ll also answer some of your most frequently asked questions about responding to reviews from former and future guests. 

Why is it important to respond to hotel reviews?

Online reviews have a massive impact on U.S. consumers, with a whopping one third saying they “always” check online reviews when evaluating businesses. 

Reviews impact the hotel and hospitality industry uniquely, with 29% of consumers stating that online reviews play a “very important” role in shaping their decisions. Meanwhile, TripAdvisor is one of the most-used review platforms, with 29% of consumers saying they’ve used it during the last 12 months. 

Faced with statistics like these, it’s easy to see how hotel reviews play a vital role in converting potential guests into loyal customers. 

However, it’s not just your ratings or reviews that influence consumers’ decisions – it’s also the way you reply to them. 

For instance, 34% of consumers say they’re “highly likely” to book a hotel, or use another type of business, if it responds to all guest reviews. By comparison, that figure drops to: 

  • 15% for hotels that exclusively address positive feedback
  • 10% for hotels that exclusively address negative feedback
  • 8% for hotels that never reply

The upshot is that responding to all of your guest reviews – whether they’re good, bad, neutral, or mixed – makes people more likely to choose your hotel over another establishment. There are also additional benefits of responding to guest feedback, like boosting your local search ranking and improving the customer experience you provide.

In order to reap these benefits, you need to implement an effective review response strategy. The next section of this guide will go over seven tips on responding to positive or negative hotel reviews.

How to write effective hotel review responses

Following best practices will help you write more polished and effective responses to guest reviews and ratings, regardless of what sort of sentiment they express. 

Here’s an at-a-glance overview of the tips we’ll be covering for responding to neutral, positive, and negative reviews: 

  1. Reading reviews from start to finish 
  2. Greeting the reviewer using their name 
  3. Acknowledging details from the negative or positive review 
  4. Expressing your thanks for the hotel review
  5. In the case of a negative hotel review, apologizing for the guest experience
  6. Highlighting the positive aspects of your brand 
  7. Encouraging reviewers to contact you  

1. Read the whole review

Guests who have taken the time to write reviews or leave ratings for hotels expect to be heard and acknowledged. It’s important to give each comment the attention it deserves and make sure you absorb the details before publishing your response –  especially when you receive a negative hotel review from dissatisfied guests (or prospective guests).  

2. Address the customer using their name

Some platforms require reviewers to provide a name, or submit some sort of nickname or username, before posting a comment or leaving a rating. Others allow users to remain anonymous. 

If the reviewer has included a name or username, you should include it at the beginning of your response by greeting the reviewer. Of course, inappropriate usernames should be omitted. 

If the reviewer has an especially long username, you can shorten it to the first word or two when responding.

Using the reviewer’s name in your greeting helps establish a friendly tone while also adding a touch of personalization to your reply. If the reviewer has chosen to remain anonymous, simply leave it out of your reply. 

3. Thank the guest 

Whether they’ve left negative reviews, positive reviews, mixed reviews, or even neutral reviews, all of your reviewers deserve to be thanked for their feedback.

Your thank-yous don’t need to be complicated, but they should be varied in each response. Here are a few examples of how you can mix it up when replying: 

  • “Thanks for taking a moment to rate [Hotel Name], [Reviewer Name]!” 
  • “We sincerely appreciate your feedback about your visit!” 
  • “Thank you for sharing your comments with our team here at [Hotel Name].” 
  • “Your kind words are sincerely appreciated by everyone on our team!” 

4. Acknowledge specific details

Personalization is key when responding to positive or negative hotel reviews. After all, data shows that nearly three quarters of consumers – about 73%, according to Shopify – “expect brands to understand their unique needs and expectations.” 

Meanwhile, research by McKinsey & Company reveals that more than three quarters of consumers – 76% – actually become “frustrated” when hotels or other businesses fail to personalize customer interactions. That includes your responses to negative and positive hotel reviews. 

To personalize your response, reference at least one detail from the reviewer’s comment in your reply. An example could be referencing the specific location they visited, or the specific feature they enjoyed – for instance, “friendly front desk reception” or “convenient valet parking.” 

Here are a few more ways to personalize each reply to a guest review: 

  • Use the reviewer’s name
  • Vary the words and phrases you use, like “excellent” vs. “fantastic” or “amazing” 
  • Make sure each response follows a slightly different structure  

5. Apologize where necessary 

It’s vital that hotels respond to negative reviews as well as positive reviews. While many of the basic response elements are the same, like thanking the guest for their feedback, negative reviews require an additional step: apologizing for the guest’s experience. 

You should keep your apology concise but sincere. It’s also important to strike the right balance between acknowledging specific guest issues, which shows that you’re reading reviews carefully, and not going into excessive detail or becoming defensive. 

6. Emphasize brand values 

Your response is an excellent opportunity to promote the positive qualities, features, or values that set your hotel brand apart from its competitors. 

However, it’s important to approach this differently depending on whether you are responding to a negative hotel review or a positive hotel review. 

If you’re responding to positive comments, you can echo or mirror something the customer has already stated in their review. If you’re replying to negative comments, you can incorporate your values into your apology. 

Here are two examples to help illustrate what we mean: 

  • Positive Reviews“We’re so thrilled to hear how much you and your husband enjoyed the breathtaking skyline views of the city!” 
  • Negative Reviews “This doesn’t reflect the outstanding customer service our team is committed to ensuring that all of our guests receive. We would value an opportunity to make this right with you and deliver the quality you deserve.” 

7. Encourage offline dialogue 

No one enjoys receiving negative hotel reviews, but it’s critical not to argue with the customer online – even if you don’t exactly agree with their side of the story. 

Instead, the better approach is to encourage the reviewer to get in touch with the appropriate staff member, like suggesting a follow up phone call. Ideally, you should provide an email address and/or phone number directly within your response, which makes it easier (and more likely) for the reviewer to contact you. 

Taking these steps to deal with bad hotel reviews will help you deescalate the situation offline, instead of getting into a debate or conflict publicly.

For a positive hotel review, you should encourage the reviewer to visit you again and reach out with any questions they might have. You can also include a brief sign-off, like wishing them safe travels or telling them they’re always welcome back. 

These types of details add warmth to your responses and make customers feel more valued.  

4 examples of good and bad hotel review responses 

Responding to reviews example #1

responding to reviews example number 1

What this response gets right: 

  • The hotel uses the reviewer’s name 
  • The timestamp on the review and response are the same, showing the hotel responded within 24 hours 
  • The hotel apologizes for the specific issues involving the bathroom and tub 
  • The response assures the reviewer that their feedback will be implemented 
  • The hotel, far from being confrontational or argumentative, courteously welcomes the reviewer to return in the future

Responding to reviews example #2

responding to reviews example number 2

What this response gets right: 

  • The hotel uses a cheerful, enthusiastic tone that reflects the original review
  • The response uses the reviewer’s name
  • The hotel thanks the guest for their feedback
  • The response to the positive review references the name of the hotel 
  • The guest is invited to return again in the future 

Responding to reviews example #3

responding to reviews example number

What this response gets right: 

  • The response uses the guest’s name 
  • The hotel extends a sincere but concise apology and thanks the reviewer for their feedback 
  • The response references multiple details from the reviewer’s comment (e.g. “room cleanliness, maintenance, and parking charges”) 
  • The response affirms the hotel’s commitment to improving its service and delivering the best possible guest experience 

Responding to reviews example #4

responding to reviews example number 4

What this response gets right: 

  • The response uses the reviewer’s name 
  • The response uses the word “splendid” instead of reusing more common adjectives like “fantastic” or “amazing,” which is a simple way of introducing variety when responding to multiple reviews 
  • The hotel welcomes the customer to return in the future (“We look forward to your next trip!”) 

How to quickly respond to reviews 

Hotels should take a three-step approach to managing their reviews: 

  1. Monitor hotel review apps and platforms for new comments and ratings 
  2. Read customer reviews as soon as possible after receiving them
  3. Respond promptly using a consistent and professional voice 

Whether you’re responding to negative reviews, positive reviews, or mixed reviews, following this three-step approach will help you stay organized and maintain better control of your online reputation – especially when you leverage the power of review management solutions like ResponseScribe.

With ResponseScribe, time-consuming manual review management is a thing of the past. There are two ways our platform speeds up the process and boosts your efficiency: 

  1. First, our platform also eliminates the need to constantly check for new reviews. Instead, our software monitors review platforms for you, sending you automatic notifications and alerts. 
  1. Second, our review response service generates professional replies to your reviewers. That means your team has more bandwidth to tackle other projects and give your customers the best possible guest experience. 

If speed is your priority, we recommend choosing our AI plan. Our AI-generated response plan gives you the fastest speeds at the lowest price, ensuring that all online reviews receive a reply in one hour or less on average. 

AI review response pricing starts at just $20 per month for up to 25 reviews, which covers business insight reports, gives you the power to approve and edit responses, and monitors up to 50 review platforms for you. 

How to manage multiple review platforms 

AI tools can make it faster and easier to respond to hotel reviews and manage your online reputation. However, some AI-based response generators require users to manually copy reviews into the platform to generate replies – and for a multi-location business like a hotel or motel chain, this kind of approach quickly becomes infeasible. 

To begin with, the hotel may have dozens of locations – and you should monitor each location’s ratings and reviews.Combined with the sheer quantity of platforms where users can share hotel reviews, such as Yelp, Expedia, and Booking.com, that creates plentiful sites and listings that you should watch.

Fortunately, better alternatives exist for managing and replying to reviews across multiple platforms. ResponseScribe’s platform automatically scours your review sites and pulls in each review for you – no copying and pasting required. 

With ResponseScribe, all of your online reviews are consolidated in a centralized, easy-to-navigate hub. You can sort and search reviews by review site, star rating, hotel location, or when the review was received.

We offer a range of pricing plans to fit the volume of reviews you receive, including plans for up to 25, 50, 100, or 200 reviews per month. No matter how frequently your hotel gets reviewed, our scalable platform is designed to grow with you. 

Respond to negative and positive hotel reviews fast with ResponseScribe 

To stay competitive in the hotel industry, you need to provide an exceptional experience for your guests and potential future guests. That includes ensuring all of your reviews receive fast and friendly responses, regardless of whether they’re positive, negative, or neutral. 

ResponseScribe streamlines the process for you, saving you time and money while empowering you to connect with customers. The way it works is simple: you choose the plan that fits your needs, and we create customized, on-brand replies for every hotel review you receive. 

We offer human-powered, AI-generated, and hybrid review response solutions, giving you flexibility to choose a strategy that fits your budget. Start your free trial and see how we can help meet your hotel’s online reputation management needs. 

FAQs

What are examples of positive feedback at a hotel?

There are many reasons guests might leave positive hotel reviews. Some common examples of a positive review include praise for the hotel’s amenities, room cleanliness, front desk service, valet service, or concierge. They might also praise the room service, the hotel restaurant, or the hotel’s location or accessibility. Finally, some guests might leave a 4-star or 5-star rating with no comment at all.

How do you professionally respond to a complaint?

Even though criticism can sting, it’s important to maintain professionalism and write with courtesy when you respond to negative reviews from guests. When you’re addressing a negative guest experience – whether it’s a detailed review, or a bad rating without a comment – be sure to greet and thank the reviewer, extend a sincere apology, and offer friendly encouragement to contact you so that you can make things right (ideally, accompanied by contact information).

How do you reply to a thank you review?

You should respond to positive reviews promptly and courteously. A positive hotel review response should start by greeting and thanking the reviewer, then reference one or more details from the review to give it a touch of personalization. The hotel’s response to the positive review should conclude by inviting the reviewer to come back any time and, optionally, wishing them safe future travels.

Why do you need to respond to hotel reviews?

There are multiple reasons for responding to guest reviews, like improving your local search ranking and increasing your brand credibility. It’s also a way of providing great customer service, which improves customer retention and makes repeat business more likely. You’ll get the greatest benefit by responding to all reviews received from guests, since consumers are less likely to choose businesses that only respond to negative or positive reviews.

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